marking machines

I've been researching marking technologies and the one that I like the
most is usually called either impact, indent, pin, or peen marking.
I've seen machines that claim as small as .015" character size -
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LM-4400 - which is small enough for me.
YAG lasers are the perfect solution, but they're far too expensive for
me to even consider. It's like pulling teeth to get information out of
most of the marker manufacturers, but Kwikmark advertises their units
for $5,500 with no frills -
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- and I get the
general impression that most machines on the market are in the $10,000
range, which is much more reasonable than a laser.
I've probably sent emails to 10 or 15 different companies requesting
information on their products, and so far I've only gotten 2 brochures
in the mail, which contain LESS information than the websites, and
don't even include pricing information.
So, now that you know what I've done so far, I'll tell you what
exactly it is I'm trying to do:
Norsam Technologies makes something they call a Rosetta Disk, which is
used to store information for thousands of years -
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- 3 times I attempted to order
some disks from Norsam, but they ignored my emails, just like everyone
else. Since I'm really more interested in just including an
indestructible instruction manual with a machine (or something like
that, it's not important), I don't need the vast amount of storage
that Norsam provides.
Instead, I'd rather use a 4 inch long, 1 inch diameter polished nickel
rod and wrap the information around it in a spiral. I'm going to
include a small logo as well. The information on each unit will be
unique, except for the logo. I know pin marking doesn't produce
beautiful marks when examined closely, but the finished product should
be nice-looking when taken as a whole. I think the quality of the
marker will determine how consistent the dot placement is (straight
lines versus crooked or wavy lines).
I'm only going to need around 5 units at first, so I'd rather hire a
marking shop to do it for me until my needs increase. On the other
hand, if you want something done right, you do it yourself....I'm
keeping an open mind.
So basically, I'm sold on the pin marking technique because of it's
low cost and decent results. What I'd like to know is, what's the best
marker out there? Technifor seems to be the 800 pound gorilla, though
there's lots of smaller companies out there too. I may decide to do
the logo with some kind of etching technology...does anyone know of
any other ways to get lots of physically durable text into a very
small space? Remember the information changes a lot, so investing in
etching masks may not be the best way to go. How well does etching
work with nickel? Any other suggestions are welcome.
Reply to
Jethro
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Jethro, Can you provide information about the end result your are looking for? A 1" diameter rod 4" long..of nickel?..how big is the text? Is there any other configuration, shape, material that would do? What exactly is the goal that is achieved by having this information anyway..who is it for, and how will they read it? If you say what the design objectives are, a solution may suggest itself.
Paul
Reply to
Paul Rudolph
Why would you want to store info that changes a lot for thousands of years ? You really have an indestructible machine that needs an indestructible user manual ? I saw an 8-8008 pound gorilla once who needed secure storage, but he never changed his info.
Jethro wrote in article ...
Reply to
mark
never changed his info.
Was he in Tacoma ?
Reply to
"PrecisionMachinist"
"PrecisionMachinist" wrote in article ...
East Greenstead I think. It's a different kind of monkey than you're used to.
Reply to
mark
The text needs to be as small as is reasonable, in order to keep the size down. The material, nickel, is probably not going to change since anything better than nickel will be more expensive...though I have a hunch I'll be making some out of platinum or gold eventually. The size and shape of the part is open to suggestions. At this point I prefer a round rod since it will be quick and easy to cut and polish in a lathe, in any size or length, and I can use all of the surface area for marking in a slick little spiral pattern. If I want more info storage space, I can make them longer and cut them in sections, like chapters in a book. The information needs to be readable with an ordinary microscope or by the unaided eye - it isn't critical, but smaller is better.
As for what they're for....well, who knows. My best guess is they're some kind of novelty or trinket that's going to have some important family-related information, like a will, or a family tree or something, or maybe it's for a time capsule...but I don't know what exactly is going to be printed on them. I just know that they need to be marked with a good deal of information, and it's all going to be custom stuff. In any case, I ought to keep my speculations off of usenet.
At this moment, the materials and exact size and shape are not important since they'll probably be changing. I'm going to be doing some experimenting, which is why I like the program-and-go aspects of the impact printers (versus etching with masks). It'd be quick and easy to try something new.
All I really need to know is which machines are the best quality so I can focus my attention on a particular company...
Thanks a bunch for the replies guys!
Reply to
Jethro
With pin marking (0.015 characters) on a rod that size, you'll get a maximum of about 530 characters (counting punctuation). If we assume that the average word is 5 characters (true for conversational English), that's about 100 words. If you're using technical English, expect to get fewer words. Including a logo will reduce the available space still further.
Note too that nickel isn't that impervious. Without a protective overcoat, small marks can wear away, or be obscured by scratches, relatively quickly, depending on details of the handling and storage environment.
Gary
Reply to
Gary Coffman
When I said it changes, I meant that I'm not doing a production run of identical parts.
Reply to
Jethro
Always a pleasure to read your replies Mr. Coffman. 500 characters is fine for a rod that size. If I need more, I'll use something that's a different size or shape. Oh, and I'll remember to put the logos on the ENDS of the rod....Now that I think of it though, if I buy a marking machine, I'm going to definitely make a cute little book with metal pages. That'd be pretty neat.
I think they're going to be delivered in a jewelry-ish velvet lined box, so I don't think they'll be receiving any careless wear. I've thought about using something harder and more inert than pure nickel. I'll probably try one of the tough nickel alloys, but I don't think I'll be able to get a very deep mark. We'll see.
Reply to
Jethro
In case anyone is interested, here's a list of the machine maker's websites that I've found so far. Maybe later I'll post another followup with better information, for anyone who might read this thread from the google archive.
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electric markers
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electric markers
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.015 characters
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advertised $5500
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electric markers, scribes
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etching systems
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advertised $9995
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electric markers
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cheap rotary marking
Reply to
Jethro
After following a few responses, there is one that is missing. You can get extremely small and clear markings using photolythography and acid etching. You can burn the foto resist material down to micron precision and put it on the metal, then chem-mill to whatever depth you want. Cost of the machine is zero since you can order the photo-resist masking material from any PC board or chem-milling outfit.
Wayne
Reply to
Wayne Lundberg
Curious if you considered "Diamond Drag" ? (sharpened diamond literally dragged on a surface via cnc driven device under an adjustable spring load)I realize that .015 gets pretty tiny, but I almost think it would look a lot better dragged than the pin markings I saw.
You could check with Bruce Diamond,
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To see if they might special dress some bits so that you could acheive your goal.
Just a thought, Chris L
Reply to
Chris L
It's not the OP's application, but I got a bunch of stainless instrument tags (tool checks) with the diamond engraving, and rejected them. You had to hold them to the light just right to read them. I had the contractor check out laser engraving. It was much better due to the dark appearance. This was done by a job shop, and was as cheap or cheaper than the diamond engraving.
Pete Keillor
Reply to
Peter T. Keillor III
So is that the sort of thing I could do on my desk at home? It may be worthwhile to look into the process, if it's really that easy and cheap. There would be a problem in that I'd have to make a new mask for every part, but if that's a cheap and easy thing to do, it doesn't matter. I've only seen flat parts made using that process (If I'm even looking at the correct process), does it work on round stuff? I'd like to wrap text in a spiral around a rod. Can you provide URLs to get me going? If the process is attractive enough, I could easily rethink my requirements to make it work.
Reply to
Jethro
Do a search for masking materials used in sandblasting etchings for glass, and for photo materials or even jells used in screen printing. I've seen cheap HP plotters with a sharp tip scratch jell materials on 8.5 ax 11 sheets that allow the paint (chemical in your case) into the metal and thus etch only the scratched portion of the jell.
You'll have to research this approach because I've been out of it for way too long. Start with McLogan Supply and see where that leads you.
Wayne
Reply to
Wayne Lundberg

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